What does one thing have to do with another? At what point do the two intersect? If a person murders another, are they automatically related? Are passionate impulses triggers for homicidal rage?
At some point observation will lead one to clues, and the clues will lead eventually to a hypothesis. Once a hypothesis becomes supported with facts, it can be tested. Testing the hypothesis can lead you to the truth.
There is no method or pattern to madness. No hypothesis, observation or clue will lead you anywhere but deeper into the depths of despair. No formula will show that madness, love or passion follows a set pattern.
Thermopolis Konan sat in his mobile home and sipped his coffee from a yellowish mug that was crafted by an amateur potter. The glaze refused to stick to the clay. It was a flawed mug, and Konan thought it deserved a home. He spent his free hours looking for broken and flawed items at his local Goodwill.
He finished his coffee and wiggled his toes. The sun had not risen from its bed yet. He changed from his pajamas into Wrangler jeans, Red Wing boots, and a Carhartt pull over. He had not slept for two days. Konan shoved his knife, a 13-round magazine for his 9mm Springfield Hellcat, and his bundle of keys into his pocket.
His insomnia was often triggered by a sense of trouble. He had spent the past two days wired for trouble. It had not come. Still, sleep eluded him. As he put on a tan cap that advertised a local oil rig, a knock came from the door. Given the early morning hour, he peeked out the peephole and saw two police officers standing on his porch.
“Can I help you?”
“Former Detective Sergeant Thermopolis Konan? Of the 117th?”
“We need to speak to you.”
“Please open the door.”
“No. What do you want?”
“There has been a murder….”
“So? Call the cops.”
“Captain Lilly Thompson sent us.”
Konan opened the door. “What does Lilly want?”
“She wants you to come access the body.”
“I am no longer a cop. Her predecessor took my job.”
“She told us. She insists that this is right up your alley. We need to get back to the scene.”
Konan locked the door and walked to the car. The two officers took the front seat, Thermopolis sat in the back. They rode in silence until they reached the abandoned warehouse section of Fredericksburg. Years ago, this section of town had been a major hub for shipping. Companies from all over America had a warehouse in town.
Of course, this was before what was now known as “The Town-Killer Incident.” The officer who had spoken to Konan through the door looked in the mirror and gave a nod to him.
“Captain Thompson didn’t inform us as to why you lost your job at the 117th. Is it a secret or do you guys not talk about it?”
“Naw, it ain’t no secret.”
“I punched Lilly’s predecessor out at the Christmas party.”
Both cops laughed. Konan shrugged and went back to staring out the window. He knew what was coming next.
“Why,” the driver asked. Thermopolis gestured with his hands and continued to stare at the numerous warehouses they passed.
“Seemed like a good idea at the time.” The cop stared at him through the rearview mirror, Thermopolis ignored him.
“Come on, man. There has to be more to it than that, why would you punch out your boss?”
“There is more to it than that, and why wouldn’t I? Haven’t you ever wanted to smack the stupid out of your boss?”
“Captain Thompson is my boss.”
The cops clammed up, and Konan was thankful for the silence. Both cops seemed frustrated with the shortness of his answers and the explanation of what got him kicked from the police force.
“What do you guys know about the murder? Were you first on the scene?”
“Yeah, we were there first. It was horrific. We are almost there.”
“Any ideas of who might have done it?”
“None.” Both cops paled when he asked about the body, apparently, they were new to discovering the depths of human depravity. Konan changed the subject.
“Is your boss on scene?”
“Yeah. She was on scene and sent us to find you. Most of the detectives thought they could handle it without involving you. Captain Thompson wouldn’t hear it though.”
The driver brought the car to a halt next to a warehouse that stood next to a railcar depot. “What a horrible place to die.” Buildings were in ruin; the old rail cars had rusted beyond use. Hobos stood next to burn barrels; their clothes were in as bad condition as the railcars.
In the distance, Lilly Thompson stood outside of the ticker tape and watched her people secure the scene. Konan walked up and stood next to her.
In the nine years that Konan had been off the force, Lilly had not changed. Her hair was the same length, had the same curls, and she had not gained a single pound from the look of things. Lilly gazed at Thermopolis from the corner of her green eyes and lifted her chin in greeting.
“Thermopolis Konan, you haven’t changed a bit. Were you gentle with my officers? They’re green, you know.”
“Yeah, I noticed. Hello to you too, Lilly. Why am I here?”
“Because of your last case.”
“I didn’t solve my last case; I was fired before I could solve it.”
“You were fired because you cold-cocked your superior.”
“Yeah. She had it coming though.”
Lilly’s mouth twisted into a grin, and she gave a small chuckle. Konan’s face remained bland of emotion. “Well, I suppose we all have it coming.”
Thermopolis nodded, and Lilly lifted the ticker tape. “Come on, Konan. I need you to look at the victim. It’s been a while; you want a facemask?”
In the back of the warehouse, where no windows were found and the shadows were the longest, the victim was found nailed to the floor. Long cuts were on the victim’s face, the body was naked. Konan pushed his nose into the sleeve of his shirt.
“Dear holy God…” Lilly looked at Konan and nodded. “Yeah, she is young.”
“According to her school ID she turned fifteen last month.”
The Medical Examiner came up to Lilly and pulled down her mask. Ashley Wilkinson nodded to Konan who nodded back. “This is a horrific crime, Lilly.”
“Okay,” Ashley said as she pulled off her gloves. “First off, the child was raped, brutally. There is swelling in the vaginal tissue and lacerations. There was semen deposited and we took a sample of it. The cuts didn’t kill her. She was alive when she was nailed down. From what I could tell, she was conscious at the time.”
“Poor girl. How soon before we know who raped her?”
“It was multiple assailants. There were two samples. I should have said that to begin with. Sorry. I have a fifteen-year-old daughter myself. Um, I will put a rush order into the lab. Two days maximum.”
“Okay, thanks Ashley. Let me know when you have the results in.”
Konan and Lilly watched the medical team place the body in the back of the ambulance, and Ashley loaded into the back with it. They watched the ambulance disappear from view.
“What do you think, Thermopolis?”
“I don’t miss it.”
“I meant about the case.”
“The only similarity that they share is that the victim was nailed to the floor. Other than that, it’s two different cases.”
“The M.O. has evolved. It has been years since the last victim was nailed down. Did the killer get bored?”
“Who knows with these sickos?”
“I want you to consult with my lead detectives. Any help you can give us is greatly appreciated.”
‘I’m sorry, Lilly. I can’t do that. Your lead detectives would not appreciate my involvement.”
“I’m not asking, I need you.”
“I can’t. Sorry.”
Lilly watched as Konan walked to the car that brought him. She nodded to the officer when he looked her way as if to ask permission to take Konan home. She nodded and went back to the body.
At home, Konan tried to get the young girl’s face out of his mind, but he failed to do so. He sat in his maroon recliner and leaned back. He turned his television on and tuned in to Tom and Jerry. It wasn’t long before he was sound asleep.
At 0330 in the morning, a knock came from his front door. Konan cracked his eyes open and reached for his sidearm. Quietly, he sneaked to the front door and peeped out. Two patrol officers stood on the porch.
“Yeah? What do you want?”
“Your presence is requested by Lt. Daniels.”
“Who is LT. Daniels?”
“She is an officer with the 117th. There has been another murder.”
“Look, I told Lilly….”
“Sir, we need to go right now.”
Konan shoved the door open and stormed out onto the porch. “Listen…”
“Sir, it’s Captain Thompson.” Konan stopped talking. He tried to speak but no words came out. He struggled to gain his composure and finally he said, “let me get dressed.” He threw on jeans, his boots and a T-shirt. He shoved his keys into his pocket and walked out.
They rode in silence until they reached the warehouse portion of town where the last body was found. Like the last body, Lilly was naked. Ashley Wilkinson knelt beside the body. Long cuts were upon Lilly’s face. Konan blinked back his tears.
“Ashley, was she raped?”
“Thank God,” Konan whispered.
Carved into Ashley’s chest was the word “PIG.” In the same vein of the other body, she had been nailed to the floor. Konan stood and walked out the door. He wanted to rage, to hit something or someone, instead he looked into the window of the patrol car and stared at his image until he calmed down.
Lt. Daniels walked to where Konan stood. She was not an attractive woman, her brownish-grey hair was haphazardly thrown into a ponytail. Daniels was a bit on the heavy side, and round face gave her a dingy appearance.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Konan.”
“Thanks, why am I here?”
“There was a note stapled to her chest. It’s addressed to you.”
She handed him the evidence bag, and inside it was the note. In black ink on an old piece of parchment was written: Hello, Thermopolis. Let’s see you ignore this.”
Konan’s breath caught in his throat. He struggled to breathe. Lt. Daniels waited for him to gain his composure.
“Chief Janko would like a word with you before you return home.”
“I don’t know. I was told to pass on the message.”
“Fine. Can you spare an officer to take me there?”
“Sure,” Daniels responded. She flagged over an officer and told him to take Konan to the Mayor’s office. Twenty minutes later, Konan walked into the building. Mayor Tim Smith had his office on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building. Konan took the stairs.
A wooden door with gold letters announced he had made it to the Mayor’s office. Konan pushed the door open and walked into the foyer. A secretary sat behind a glassed-in portion of the room and looked up.
“Can I help you,” she asked.
“Yeah, I am Thermopolis Konan. I was told to come here.”
She nodded and walked around to the door. She motioned for him to follow. At the inner door, she pushed the intercom. A deep voice came across the speaker.
“Mayor Smith, Thermopolis Konan is here per your request.”
“Send him in.” She pushed the door open, and Konan walked in. Mayor Smith sat behind an antique desk, Chief Janko sat in a chair beside it.
“Have a seat, Konan.”
Konan nodded and sat in the plush chair. Chief Janko said nothing, just sat in silence until Konan sat down.
“Do you know why you were summoned here,” the mayor asked. Konan shook his head no. The mayor continued. “You’re here because we need your help.”
“I am no longer a cop, sir.”
“Chief Janko and the rest of the department is more than capable of solving this sir. There’s no reason for me to be involved.”
“I’ve already told him that, Konan.” Janko crossed his arms and continued. “He wants you to consult with us on this case.”
“Lilly wanted me to consult, and I turned her down.”
“Look how that worked out for her,” Janko responded. Konan bit down on his lip to keep from responding in anger. It didn’t work.
“You’re not going to lay that on my doorstep, hoss.”
Mayor Smith held up his hands. “Both of you shut up. You have no choice, Konan. You either help or you can sit in jail until it is solved. Janko, I expect Konan to be treated with the utmost respect by you and the department. Understood?”
Janko nodded but Konan was not through. “Put me in jail. I don’t care. I am out of this political bullcrap.”
“So, you don’t care if Lilly’s killer is caught? Some friend you are, Thermopolis,” Janko sneered. Konan leapt to his feet and grabbed Janko by the throat. “I was her friend. I busted your buddy Tia in the mouth at the Christmas party, didn’t I?”
Janko snarled, spittle formed in the corner of his mouth. “He looks like a rabid dog.” Konan let him go. “You’re not worth the jail time, Janko. Your pal fired me. Who do you think I am, Sherlock Holmes? I don’t consult on cases.”
“You will be given a car for transportation, and you will receive a daily stipend of 150 dollars per day. You can fill up at the fuel depot. Now that you have been properly motivated, I suggest you get the case notes and do whatever it is that you do.”
Janko rubbed his throat. “I will see you soon, Thermopolis.” The police station was only a few blocks away, so Konan walked to it. The fresh air did him some good, his anger had cooled to a small inferno by the time he arrived.
Detectives Tomas and Wiggins waited for him in the records cage. Tomas was a large built man who was shaped like a burrito. Wiggins was a tall, thin man with a constant broken nose. He wheezed when he took a breath which was often. Tomas gestured at Wiggins and himself and muttered, “Wiggins and Tomas, we were told to bring you up to speed.”
“Here are the notes that has been composed concerning the two murders. Chief Janko doesn’t want you to pollute the environment, so he put you down here in Records.”
“How nice of him.”
“What did you expect, you grabbed him by the throat.”
“Alright. I better get on with it.”
“If you need anything you can reach us at Extension 32.”
Tomas and Wiggins turned and walked out of the cage. A singular light bulb hung from the ceiling, it burned dimly. Konan moved a chair under the bulb and looked over the notes. “Nailed to the floor, fifteen years old, long lacerations on face.” The results from the lab concerning the samples pulled from the young girl would not be in for another day at least, still Konan decided to check anyway.